As winter encroaches, you might be tempted to stay indoors and crank up the heating. That will certainly keep you nice and cosy, but you will probably feel a real chill when the energy bill arrives.
Burning through your hard-earned money isn’t the only way to stay warm. In fact, the following hacks will help you reduce your energy bill while still keeping you warm.
Reduce your energy bills by eliminating the heat thieves in your home!
No, we’re not talking about the kids with their long showers and ‘forgetting to turn off lights’ habits! We’re talking about those expensive heat leaks that exist in every home.
While every home is different, there are a few common ways that heat escapes, taking your income with it. It’s easy to search for the tell-tale signs of heat leakage around your home. Check…
Ceiling access points
Unless you have a vaulted ceiling throughout your home, you will have a way to access the space between your ceiling and your roof. As you learned in Science 101, heat rises. You want a warm room, not a warm ceiling cavity!
Even if your roof space is fully insulated, these easily overlooked access points can create a chimney-like draught, sucking the air you’re paying to heat out into the great outdoors! Check for gaps or broken seals. You can also think of ways to insulate those access doors.
While unlikely in newer homes, door frames can be a real challenge in older homes. If you can see even a tiny sliver of light around your door or the frame, you have a heat-sapper! That door or doors will be leaking heat even without even being opened. Try adjusting the screws along the sides of your door until you can’t see daylight. You can also check the weatherstripping around your doors and replace it if it’s looking tired and worn.
Weather seals and door snakes
Weather seals, also called draft-stoppers, will pay for themselves in a season! Not only do they keep out drafts, they also keep unwanted visitors like roaches out! Now add a ‘door snake’ at the foot of each external door. Both the seals and the ‘snakes’ will save you money year after year.
As an added benefit, both will help prevent the escape of cool air in summer when you are trying to keep heat out!
Do you know that up to 40% of your valuable winter warmth can be lost through your windows? That’s a lot of warmth you’re donating to the universe.
Remove and replace any old or cracked caulking (i.e. the seal around your windows). Invest in some lined curtains (best) or blinds for any bare windows.
In cold climates, consider installing double-glazed windows. These have the potential to save you thousands in heating costs over the years.
If you have hardwood floors, you may want to consider investing in some stylish rugs for the winter months. An extra layer of fabric can add much needed protection between you and any upward draughts from the floorboards.
If your home is raised off the ground, consider installing underfloor insulation. As a bonus, just like door seals, underfloor insulation offers year-round benefits. In the same way that hot air rises, cool air falls. That cool air can escape through your floor, either directly via poor fitting floorboards or by heat transfer. It’s a win-win… warmer winters and cooler summers!
Dress for the weather
You don’t wear sweaters in summer so why wear shirtsleeves in winter? While it can be tempting to turn the heat up and relax in light clothes – resist that urge! Before you turn up the temperature inside, put on a sweater or hoodie and a nice pair of comfy slippers!
Service or replace hot water systems and heaters
If your hot water system is more than 15 years old, think about investing in a new one. Today’s condensing boilers are usually much more efficient. You could save as much as a third of your annual heating bill just by by making a simple change.
If you haven’t had your heating system serviced for a while, now’s the time. A poorly maintained heating system can see you wasting energy (and money) operating something that isn’t working at maximum efficiency. When checking and servicing your heating:
- ensure any ducted heating is free of leaks
- That your air filters are clean and dust-free; and
- That the insulation on central heating systems is sound.
Avoid thermostat creep
Most people are surprised to learn that simply turning your thermostat down by 1°C can cut your heating bill by up to 10%!!! By setting your room thermostat to between 18-21˚C (65f – 70f) you’ll be comfortable without wasting hard-earned money. Most modern heaters will display the thermostat temperature setting but if yours doesn’t, simply turning it down to low will do the trick.
It’s also smart to not leave your heating constantly on day and night – even if set to low. Take advantage of your heater’s timer function and align it to switch on before you wake up and before you get in at night. In fact, research has shown that around 17C – 19C (60F – 65F) is the temperature that provides the best possible sleeping temperature.
Install reverse cycle air conditioning
Do you know that reverse cycle air conditioning is very often the cheapest and most efficient form of heating? Today’s ‘inverter’ split and ducted systems are extremely effective in rapidly warming any room at competitive cost. And they are just as effective when that searing summer heat arrives. Check with your energy provider for deals. Because most people think of air conditioning in summer, there are often very good deals offered on winter installs, including interest-free deferred payments.
Find the right energy plan for you
Of course, your energy-saving practices won’t be nearly as effective if you don’t have the right energy plan to begin with. It’s become a competitive market with many players chasing your energy dollars. So shop around and compare to find the best plan for your home and family.
Ready to get started?